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Cian Dorr
New York University
  1. To Be F Is To Be G.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):39-134.
    This paper is an investigation of the general logic of "identifications", claims such as 'To be a vixen is to be a female fox', 'To be human is to be a rational animal', and 'To be just is to help one's friends and harm one's enemies', many of which are of great importance to philosophers. I advocate understanding such claims as expressing higher-order identity, and discuss a variety of different general laws which they might be thought to obey. [New version: (...)
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  2. Diamonds Are Forever.Cian Dorr & Jeremy Goodman - forthcoming - Noûs.
    We defend the thesis that every necessarily true proposition is always true. Since not every proposition that is always true is necessarily true, our thesis is at odds with theories of modality and time, such as those of Kit Fine and David Kaplan, which posit a fundamental symmetry between modal and tense operators. According to such theories, just as it is a contingent matter what is true at a given time, it is likewise a temporary matter what is true at (...)
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  3. Naturalness.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2013 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 8. Oxford University Press. pp. 1.
    Lewis's notion of a "natural" property has proved divisive: some have taken to the notion with enthusiasm, while others have been sceptical. However, it is far from obvious what the enthusiasts and the sceptics are disagreeing about. This paper attempts to articulate what is at stake in this debate.
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  4. Embedding Epistemic Modals.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):867-914.
    Seth Yalcin has pointed out some puzzling facts about the behaviour of epistemic modals in certain embedded contexts. For example, conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and it might not be raining, … ’ sound unacceptable, unlike conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and I don’t know it, … ’. These facts pose a prima facie problem for an orthodox treatment of epistemic modals as expressing propositions about the knowledge of some contextually specified individual or group. This paper (...)
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  5. Composition as a Fiction.Gideon Rosen & Cian Dorr - 2002 - In Richard Gale (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 151--174.
    Region R Question: How many objects — entities, things — are contained in R? Ignore the empty space. Our question might better be put, 'How many material objects does R contain?' Let's stipulate that A, B and C are metaphysical atoms: absolutely simple entities with no parts whatsoever besides themselves. So you don't have to worry about counting a particle's top half and bottom half as different objects. Perhaps they are 'point-particles', with no length, width or breadth. Perhaps they are (...)
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  6. Against Counterfactual Miracles.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (2):241-286.
    This paper considers how counterfactuals should be evaluated on the assumption that determinism is true. I argue against Lewis's influential view that the actual laws of nature would have been false if something had happened that never actually happened, and in favour of the competing view that history would have been different all the way back. I argue that we can do adequate justice to our ordinary practice of relying on a wide range of historical truths in evaluating counterfactuals by (...)
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  7. Knowing Against the Odds.Cian Dorr, Jeremy Goodman & John Hawthorne - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):277-287.
    We present and discuss a counterexample to the following plausible principle: if you know that a coin is fair, and for all you know it is going to be flipped, then for all you know it will land tails.
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  8. Self-Locating Priors and Cosmological Measures.Frank Arntzenius & Cian Dorr - 2017 - In Khalil Chamcham, John Barrow, Simon Saunders & Joe Silk (eds.), The Philosophy of Cosmology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 396-428.
    We develop a Bayesian framework for thinking about the way evidence about the here and now can bear on hypotheses about the qualitative character of the world as a whole, including hypotheses according to which the total population of the world is infinite. We show how this framework makes sense of the practice cosmologists have recently adopted in their reasoning about such hypotheses.
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  9. Reading Writing the Book of the World.Cian Dorr - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):717-724.
    This paper is a response to Theodore Sider's book, Writing the Book of the World. It raises some puzzles about Sider's favoured methodology for finding out about naturalness (or 'structure').
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  10. How to Be a Modal Realist.Cian Dorr - manuscript
    This paper investigates the form a modal realist analysis of possibility and necessity should take. It concludes that according to the best version of modal realism, the notion of a world plays no role in the analysis of modal claims. All contingent claims contain some de re element; the effect of modal operators on these elements is described by a counterpart theory which takes the same form whether the de re reference is to a world or to something else. This (...)
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  11. Transparency and the Context-Sensitivity of Attitude Reports.Cian Dorr - 2014 - In Manuel García-Carpintero & Genoveva Martí (eds.), Empty Representations: Reference and Non-existence. Oxford University Press. pp. 25-66.
    This paper defends the claim that although ‘Superman is Clark Kent and some people who believe that Superman flies do not believe that Clark Kent flies’ is a logically inconsistent sentence, we can still utter this sentence, while speaking literally, without asserting anything false. The key idea is that the context-sensitivity of attitude reports can be - and often is - resolved in different ways within a single sentence.
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  12. Contingent Existence and Iterated Modality.Cian Dorr - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):155-165.
    A discussion of a view, defended by Robert Adams and Boris Kment, according to which contingent existence requires rejecting many standard principles of propositional modal logic involving iterated modal operators.
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  13. Of Numbers and Electrons.Cian Dorr - 2010 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):133-181.
    According to a tradition stemming from Quine and Putnam, we have the same broadly inductive reason for believing in numbers as we have for believing in electrons: certain theories that entail that there are numbers are better, qua explanations of our evidence, than any theories that do not. This paper investigates how modal theories of the form ‘Possibly, the concrete world is just as it in fact is and T’ and ‘Necessarily, if standard mathematics is true and the concrete world (...)
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  14. How Vagueness Could Cut Out at Any Order.Cian Dorr - 2015 - Review of Symbolic Logic 8 (1):1-10.
    Timothy Williamson has shown that the B axiom for 'definitely' (α → Δ¬Δ¬α) guarantees that if a sentence is second-order vague in a Kripke model, it is nth order vague for every n. More recently, Anna Mahtani has argued that Williamson's epistemicist theory of vagueness does not support the B axiom, and conjectured that if we consider models in which the “radius of accessibility” varies between different points, we will be able to find sentences that are nth-order vague but (n+1)th-order (...)
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  15. Propositions and Counterpart Theory.Cian Dorr - 2005 - Analysis 65 (3):210–218.
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  16. Iterating Definiteness.Cian Dorr - 2009 - In Sebastiano Moruzzi & Richard Dietz (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Vaguenesss, its Nature and its Logic. Oxford University Press.
    The conclusion of this chapter is that higher-order vagueness is universal: no sentence whatsoever is definitely true, definitely definitely true, definitely definitely definitely true, and so on ad infinitum. The argument, of which there are several versions, turns on the existence of Sorites sequences of possible worlds connecting the actual world to possible worlds where a given sentence is used in such a way that its meaning is very different. The chapter attempts to be neutral between competing accounts of the (...)
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  17. Physical Geometry and Fundamental Metaphysics.Cian Dorr - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (1pt1):135-159.
    I explore some ways in which one might base an account of the fundamental metaphysics of geometry on the mathematical theory of Linear Structures recently developed by Tim Maudlin (2010). Having considered some of the challenges facing this approach, Idevelop an alternative approach, according to which the fundamental ontology includes concrete entities structurally isomorphic to functions from space-time points to real numbers.
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